A new study has been released demonstrating the risks of plastic pollution to all life on this planet.
The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health report is a comprehensive look at the effects of plastics and the hazard they pose. A key section of the report dealing with the effects of plastics in the ocean was led by researchers Mark Hahn and John Stegeman at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
Key findings include:
- Plastics are a major cause of disease, impairment, and premature mortality, especially amongst vulnerable, low-income, minority communities, particularly children.
- Toxic chemicals found in plastics are a major contributing factor to cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.
- Plastic waste is globally spread, and microplastics pollute every aspect of the ocean and marine food chain.
Commenting on the report, Hahn, a senior scientist in WHOI’s Department of Biology, stated:
“Ocean health is intimately and intricately connected to human health. Our attention now needs to be on creating a broadly acceptable international agreement that addresses the full life cycle of plastics in order to prioritize the health of the ocean that supports us all.”
While his fellow lead author Stegeman, a senior scientist in the Department of Biology at WHOI, added:
“It’s only been a little over 50 years since we’ve been aware of the presence of plastics throughout the ocean. The Minderoo-Monaco Commission’s work is a significant leap forward in connecting the broad health implications of plastics — to the ocean and to humanity.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Hervé Raps, Physician Delegate for Research at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, also said:
“Plastic waste endangers the ocean ecosystems upon which all humanity depends for food, oxygen, livelihood, and well-being. Besides their intrinsic effects, plastics can also be a vector for potentially pathogenic microorganisms and other chemicals adsorbed from polluted water. And alongside the new findings of this report, linking toxic chemicals to human harms, this is not the time to slow down our understanding of impacts in the ocean.”
You can find the original report here.